INNOVATE2016: The role of the FTC and federal regulators in Silicon Valley

So what, exactly, is the Federal Trade Commission? And how does the FTC differ from the Federal Communications Commission?

According to FTC Commissioner Julie Brill, the FTC is a broader agency that is slightly less focused on technology than the FCC.

Its overall focus is on the consumer. But in spite of its breadth, Brill explains that the FTC does involve itself in regulatory issues fundamentally important to Silicon Valley — especially data privacy and what Brill calls the “gig economy” of sharing services like Uber and Airbnb.

Brill believes that the outcome of the 2016 election will have an important impact on the American consumer. Like it or not, she says, the new President will have the power to appoint members of powerful agencies like the FTC and FCC.

Whether the November 2016 election results in a President Clinton or Trump, then, expect big changes in Washington DC in 2017. Tech entrepreneurs might not like the alphabet soup of inside-the-beltway politics, but — as Brill reminds us — these agencies continue to have a huge impact on Silicon Valley.

As always, many thanks to CALinnovates for its help in producing this show.